Pondering the Pitfalls of Teaching Writing in the Natural S

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Sally Sommers Smith. Kari L. Lavalli. Harry Griffin CGS’11, CAS’13. Background. Proficiency with reading and writing is fundamental to being a good student and a good worker in nearly any field. Student writing, however, typically is directed towards the instructor solely for the purpose of ass.... ID: 495535 Download Presentation

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Pondering the Pitfalls of Teaching Writing in the Natural S




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Presentations text content in Pondering the Pitfalls of Teaching Writing in the Natural S

Slide1

Pondering the Pitfalls of Teaching Writing in the Natural Sciences

Sally Sommers Smith

Kari L. Lavalli

Harry Griffin CGS’11, CAS’13

Slide2

Background

Proficiency with reading and writing is fundamental to being a good student and a good worker in nearly any field

Student writing, however, typically is directed towards the instructor solely for the purpose of assessment (Britton et al. 1979)

Slide3

Writing Process

Writing process consists of 3 metacognitive actions:

Planning

Translating

Revising

For proficient writers, the revision process should allow for assessment of writing, finding of errors, and formulating changes that lead to both expression of understanding and understanding of the subject matter itself

Slide4

Experiment

Year 1:

Two papers assigned

First paper on free form inquiry-based, 2 week lab, driven by students’ own questions

Students given 2 weeks to write paper

Paper graded, returned, students given opportunity to revise

Second paper on structured inquiry-like experiment, 2 week lab on fruit fly mating behavior and genetics

Students given 2 weeks to write paper; no rewrite

Slide5

Science Writing Described –Aid to Planning

Slide6

Grading Rubric Provided (Aid to Planning & Translating)

Slide7

Sample Paper Illustrating Sections and References Cited Provided (Aid to Translating)

Slide8

Sample Paper Illustrating Sections and References Cited Provided (Aid to Translating)

Slide9

Abstract

Mean scores on the abstract between the first and second replicates. There was no statistically significant difference t(10) = 0.43, p > 0.05, between the mean score on the first paper replicate and the second.

IntroductionMean scores on the introduction sections between the first and second replicates. There was no statistically significant difference between the mean score on the first paper replicate and the second t(10) = 0.67, p > 0.05

Slide10

Materials & MethodsMean scores of the materials and methods sections between the first and second replicates. There was no statistically significant difference between the mean score on the first replicate and second replicate t(10) = 0.99, p > 0.05.

ResultsMean scores of the results section in the first and second paper replicates. There was a significant increase in the mean score from the first to second replicates t(10) = 2.15, p < 0.05.

Slide11

DiscussionMean scores of the discussion section in the first and second paper replicates. There was a statistically significant increase in the mean score from the first to second paper replicates t(10) = 2.37, p < 0.05.

ReferencesMean scores of the references section in the first and second replicates. There was no statistically significant increase in the mean score from the first to second paper replicates t(10) = 0.32, p > 0.05.

Slide12

Slide13

Why So Little Improvement?

College students aren’t really proficient writers – they are novice writers

Revision of work by novice writers tends to just have superficial changes (Butterfield et al. 1994; De la Paz et al. 1998)

Word changes, spelling corrections, grammar corrections

These have minimal effect on quality of text

Slide14

Experiment

Year 2

Break down scientific writing process further

Poster,

then paper

Poster submitted prior to printing, revised, then printed

Students graded each other’s poster so that they could “see” faults in written sections

Students then reflected on how their poster experience would inform their paper writing

Paper then written on fruit fly experiment

Slide15

Explanations Provided

Slide16

Slide17

Grading Rubrics Given

Slide18

Reflection Assignment

Slide19

Results Still Being Assessed

BUT … instructor’s perception is that papers

were more poorly written

using this method than Year 1

method, perhaps because of haste

THANKS TO 2011

Grant from CGS Center for

Interdisciplinary Teaching and Learning.

And 2012 GUTS grant supporting undergraduate researcher, Harry

Griffin

Slide20

References

Britton, J., Burgess, T., Martin, N., McLeod, I., and Rosen, H. 1979.

The Development of Writing Abilities

. National Council of Teachers, Illinois: 11-18.

Butterfield, E. Hacker, D., and Plumb, C. 1994. Environmental, cognitive, and metacognitive influences on text revision. In: E. Butterfield, ed.

Children’s Writing: Toward a Process Theory of the Development of Skilled Writing

. JAI Press, Greenwich, CT: 83-114.

De la Paz, M., Swanson, P., and Graham, G.S. 1998. The contribution of executive control to the revising of students with writing and learning difficulties.

Journal of Educational Psychology

90: 448-460.


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